Trim the veins out with your petty. Try to do as little damage as possible, but it won't look good;
Season it with salt;
Let it sit, covered in the refrigerator while the salt draws some of the moisture out of the liver, about two hours;
Pour off any juices which have collected; and wipe the salt off with a damp towel;
Wrap the liver in heavy-duty cling wrap, as though you were making a torchon of foie gras. Get it as tight and nicely cylindrical as possible. It helps to use a bamboo maki rolling mat, but I don't. Make sure you twist the plastic wrap ends tightly, to square off the ends of the ankimo. .
Wrap the wrapped liver a second time in plastic wrap. Try to get the wrap even tighter and the torchon even more regularly shaped. After twisting the ends tight, trim off as much excess as you can without weakining the seal.
Wrap it a third time, this time in aluminum foil. Twist the ends tightly to make sure they're completely sealed. Be careful not to tear the foil.
Set the torchon in a steamer, and steam over boiling water for about 30 minutes.
Remove from the steamer, allow to cool to room to temp, and hold overnight in the refrigerator.
Yeah, thats very similar to the recipes I've looked over. I'm curious, though... Mine aren't all the same size, so that makes it a bit difficult to make 40 plates look identical. What if one were to clean them/cure them and all that like the recipes generally call for, but puree them, pack them into a terrine mold and poach them?
Making equal portions with torchons doesn't present much challenge, since you serve them as slices, not as individual whole livers.
The pate idea is interesting. Without a lot of fat or egg white to hold them together, they'd crumble. You probably wouldn't want to use lard. That pretty much leaves egg white and cream, doing it either as a sort of mousse au terrine, as a sausage or possibly even as quenelle.
Each could could work, I guess. They certainly do with other kinds of fish, but I've never tried it with ankimo. It's so good cooked whole, in the regular way and enough of a rarity that it doesn't need an injection of creativity to stay fresh -- at least not under most circumstances.
At forty servings, you might even save yourself some work doing it as a terrine -- not counting the experimenting. You'd still have to do all the trimming to get the veins out, but monkfish is all about trimming anyway.
If you did a mousse au terrine, you could add things for color and/or flavor. Truffles are the obvious choice if you can get them; huitlacoche could be very interesting. You could also layer. Thinner layers of a mousse made from monkfish tail, top and/or bottom, studded with a little lobster meat could work.
Well, the reason a torchon isn't going to work is because most of the livers I have are just too smallI have one that was a good pound or so- the rest were anywhere from 4-9 oz. Just a lot of irregularity, and most were simply just too small to get a good torchon out of. The one I cooked as a torchon cut slices with the diameter of about a nickel. Thus, my reasoning for pureeing it, and doing it as a pate.
Now as for my thoughts on the one liver that I cooked... The ones I got seem to be a little light on the fat- it seemed very fishy. Not in a bad way, just a heavier fish taste than I'd expected, and I would think that would be toned down if the liver was fattier.
Now, onto the pate... I'm wondering if I should treat this like I would with a chickenliver pate- whole egg, a touch of cream, and butter. Obviously, I'd tone back on the butter so as not to lose the taste of the monk liver, but use enough to give it the fat that it needs. I'm wondering if per 5lb of monk liver, I use 4 eggs, 1lb of butter, and a 1/2c cream if that'd do the trick. I'm also pondering blending in a slurry of transglutaminase, just as a sort of security blanket to ensure the proteins bind, and I get a firm, sliceable final product.
As for the fishiness... I'm serving it with a white peach salsa, which should cut it fairly well, and I'm serving a kalamanzi sorbet after this course, to cleanse the palette. Next time I use this ingredient, though, I'm thinking it'd go very well with kumquats and an armagnac reduction.
That said, this stuff is a complete pain in the ass to work with- very labor intensive. Luckily for my employer, I'm salaried, so the labor component of this is "free." Otherwise, this stuff really isn't any more cost effective than foie gras, IMO.
You can make your torchons by bundling several livers. You don't have to do it that way though.
If you're going to do it as a terrine, do it as a mousse. While cream is your friend, I think butter would be greasy overpowering. Blend your mousse with creme fraiche and egg. Keep the eggs light by using a ratio of one whole egg to one egg white. I thing some truffle or (as I said earlier) some huitlacoche would be a very nice touch. Or, even some interesting mushrooms -- it's mushoom time, after all.
I'd do it as a three layer mousse.
1. Bring some onion into it by making the terrine so a layer of monkfish tail mousse blended with chive ended up on the bottom (which would mean putting it on top, before baking);
I like the idea of the layered terrine, but unfortunately, the menu has already been written and distributed in member newsletters and whatnot(i work at a private club), so I'm not real hip to the idea of changing the execution away from how the menu reads- the chef and I compromised on calling it a "monkfish pate," leaving out the "liver" so as not to scare anybody. And as for mushrooms- I don't see those meshing well with the white peach salsa, and the course after this is a chanterelle mushroom ravioli.
Point taken about the butter, though. I'll just stick to egg and cream fraiche.
And I'm curious why you think steaming is still the way to go after incorporating these other ingredients- I had just guessed that at that point, a gentler heating process would be preferred. Again, just curious.
Well, anything gentle will do. There's nothing much gentler than steaming over simmering water. My thinking was avoiding getting a crust anywhere -- I doubt particular method makes much of a difference.
Too bad about the layers. Layers look so nice. As Jimmy Kimmel said, Karl Malone say, "everybody like parfait"